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Beyond Science and Technology: Creating Planetary Health Needs Not Just ‘Head Stuff’, but Social Engagement and ‘Heart, Gut and Spirit’ Stuff

School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada
Challenges 2019, 10(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe10010031
Received: 28 April 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
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Abstract

I have been involved in studying and working within what is now called the Anthropocene for almost 50 years, and in all that time, not only have we failed to make much progress, but the state of the Earth’s ecosystems has generally worsened. Yet somehow we must create a world in which everyone on Earth has good health and a good quality of life—a matter of social justice—while living within the physical and ecological constraints of the one small planet that is our home; this is the focus of the new field of planetary health. Our worsening situation is not due to lack of knowledge, science and technology; in broad terms, we knew most of the challenges and many of the needed solutions back in the 1970s. Instead, the challenges we face are social, rooted in cultural values, political ideologies, legal and economic systems, ethical principles and spiritual/religious beliefs. Therefore, we have to move beyond science and technology and address these broader socio-cultural issues by engaging in economic, legal and political work, complementing and supplementing ‘head stuff’ with ‘heart, gut and spirit stuff’, and working from the grass roots up. View Full-Text
Keywords: planetary health; Anthropocene; climate change; biodiversity loss; ecological crisis; cultural values; political ideologies; legal and economic systems; ethical principles and spiritual/religious beliefs planetary health; Anthropocene; climate change; biodiversity loss; ecological crisis; cultural values; political ideologies; legal and economic systems; ethical principles and spiritual/religious beliefs
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Hancock, T. Beyond Science and Technology: Creating Planetary Health Needs Not Just ‘Head Stuff’, but Social Engagement and ‘Heart, Gut and Spirit’ Stuff. Challenges 2019, 10, 31.

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